Connecting with strangers

Making the connection with strangers can be hard.
So there I was, writing an email to a stranger - to reach out to them. This seems to be an activity that I do often these days. Maybe this is a common entrepreneurial behavior? It's not a pleasant activity, because such emails do not always land a response.

I use GMail for pretty much all my email. My school email forwards to my GMail account as well. I like the idea of having my entire archive of email available even after I've left school. GMail has some neat features too, such as auto-completing the sender address, based on addresses it has in your address book.

I always compose my emails by first writing the body of the text. After some bad experiences accidentally sending half written emails to people, I make sure not to include the sender until the end. Reaching out to this stranger, I craft the message to the right sensitivities.

Ten minutes later, the email is composed and ready for sending. I start writing the email address of the person I want to reach out to, but before I can finish - it auto-completes. I think to myself, "if it auto-completes, this person's email address is already in my address book. If it is already in my address book, it means I already know this person. How do I already know this person?"

A quick search reveals an email conversation from several months earlier. Several thoughts rush through my mind. First, I need to re-write this email so I don't come across as a random, but instead someone familiar. Second, this experience - this story - is not the first time that this has happened. Why is this? Third, the obvious occurs to me - we are now more connected many more people than we have ever been before. Maybe the stranger we're seeking is more closely connected to us than we think.